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In Conversation: Tina Brown

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I’m running out of items for the indictment, and this is not really a criticism, it’s an observation. Tina has a thing for older men. And older men have a thing for Tina. Do you feel you have a special connection with older men?

I certainly feel I have a special connection with the one I’m married to.

But—

How old do they have to be for them to be considered older men?

Well, we’re the exact same age, so everyone’s old.

Thank God we’re all living so long, it still gives me a chance.

But you know, Harry, of course, Sidney Harman, Si Newhouse, Harvey Weinstein …

Si Newhouse? Harvey Weinstein? The people I go to work for, I have to have a thing for?

No, it’s just that—

You go to war with the army you have. Please. Let’s not talk about me having things for Si Newhouse and Harvey Weinstein. I enjoyed working for both of them, even Harvey.

I mean, I can tell you that Sidney Harman—not that there was anything sexual about it, but he was professionally smitten by you.

Well, I’m very touched to hear it. I’m very touched to hear that. He was a wonderful and enjoyable guy. I wish I’d been able to know him longer. But I didn’t know him for very long. Two months.

After Talk got into trouble, there was a piece in Vogue that said you’d undergone a fantastic transformation in that you’d become a feminist. Were you not a feminist before?

I think I’ve become more aware and supportive of women who are less lucky, frankly. I think that as you get older, inevitably you do become more socially involved and more politically aware. I moved in that direction, too. I started my Women in the World Summit, which has become a huge passion for me. We’re doing it in Brazil. We’re taking it everywhere. And I love it. I find it incredibly gratifying. I almost love doing it more than I love working on the page.

Are conferences now a key or essential ingredient in the magazine business?

Well, they are for us. Our Women in the World has become very important to us as a part of our whole kind of company.

Profitable?

Yeah, and we’re doing another one, this heroes summit, which I’m doing in November, which I’m very excited about, too. We’re going to do that annually.

Don’t you sometimes feel that people are spending their lives going to events and conferences?

There’s a lot of them. But you know what it also tells me? That people are hungry to hear really interesting conversations. They really are.

Do you Tweet?

I tweet when I’m prodded to tweet. You know, it’s fun enough. I don’t find tweeting a natural extension of my sort of literary output. You know, it always feels so self-admiring to tweet. As if you sort of expect people to find you interesting whatever you have to say. And I have a certain inhibition about that. I kind of think it feels very narcissistic, to tweet. What about you, do you tweet?

Only when forced.

Exactly. Now why is that?

Well, this is not about me. What about Facebook?

No, I don’t use Facebook. I absolutely don’t want to stay in touch with everybody in my past. I really believe in falling out of touch with people.

Wow.

There’s something very healthy about not seeing someone for three years, not knowing what they’re doing, running into them, and finding that they’re now utterly changed. You know, they have gray hair now and they’re divorced. If I was on Facebook, I would know all those things, and I don’t want to know them.

To end where we began, Citizen Tina and American politics: Are you gearing up for Hillary in 2016, or is the Clinton moment over?

Citizen Tina—thanks for that—would hike across America for Hillary. I’ve seen her up close in action in our Women in the World events, and she’s so unbelievably compelling. I want her to get her two years off, cut her hair again, freshen up those old pantsuits, and hit the trail running.


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